Category Archives: evolution

The bonobo and the atheist-basher, part 2

I’ve now finished Frans de Waal’s book, The Bonobo and the Atheist, and my final evalution is what I said yesterday: it’s a decent disquisition on the evolutionary “roots” of human morality–roots discerned in behaviors like empathy, altruism, and concern for equity in our closest relatives, the chimpanzees. The book is useful reading for its eye-opening tales of […]

Evolution 2014: Talks now online

by Greg Mayer When I posted about Daniel Matute giving the Dobzhansky Lecture at the evolution meetings, one of the commenters asked if his talk was recorded so it could be viewed online. At the time I didn’t know– I knew some talks were recorded, but I didn’t know which ones. Well, the recordings which […]

Mashable video: Common myths about evolution

A short while back the people at Mashable told me that they wanted to produce a short video on evolution—one dispelling some of the common myths about it.  I talked to them in detail, and, using their ideas as well as input from me and others, they came up with this 3-minute video: The video is also on […]

Catholicism and theistic evolution

Below is part of a short post called “What does the Catholic Church teach about evolution,” appearing on The Catholic Difference, produced by the Parish of St. James in Hopewell, Virginia—very close to where I went to school in Williamsburg. This is pretty much official Catholic doctrine as I understand it. The emphasis in the second paragraph […]

A new feathered dinosaur suggests that most dinosaurs had feathers

What better evidence that birds arose from dinosaurian reptiles than the discovery of a fossil with both scales and feathers? Further, the fossil comes from the right time period: after reptiles had already evolved but before we see modern flying birds with fully-developed feathers. Of course, we already knew that birds are the only living descendants of dinosaurs—some […]

A tale of two crows

A famous puzzle about classifying animals involves the abutting distributions of the hooded crow and the carrion crow in Europe. The two crows are considered members of different species, Corvus cornix and Corvus corone, respectively, and have been classified that way because they not only have different color patterns, but tend to mate with others of like pattern, […]

Two cartoons for Tuesday

A different take on evolution vs. religion, from Non Sequitur by Wiley Miller:   And, out of the mouths of swine. . .From The Atheist Pig, a great webcomic that has gone defunct, as the artist appears to have lost interest. The last panel reminds me of the “one god less” trope of Dawkins and others. h/t: Linda […]

Catholic biologist Ken Miller talks about God and evolution

Panda’s Thumb called my attention to an interview of  biochemist, author, ID opponent, and theistic evolutionist Kenneth Miller from Brown University. Miller once described himself to me as an “observant Catholic.” Here he has a 33-minute conversation with Samuel Varg (see below), who asks him several penetrating questions about God and evolution. Panda’s Thumb author Matt Young notes: While […]

A new feathered and four-winged dinosaur

Now that my book’s turned in, I have a chance to catch up on the stack of biology papers I’ve had to neglect. I hope to be posting more about them in the next couple of weeks, but be aware that the Dreaded Edits to the book will come back when I’ve returned from Poland, […]

There are no ring species

TRIGGER WARNING: Evolutionary biology. A while back, when I said in the comments of an evolution post that there were no good “ring species,” a few readers asked me what I meant by that. “What about the salamander Ensatina eschscholtzii? Or seagulls in the genus Larus? Aren’t those good ring species?” My answer was that those […]

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